Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 Christmas Pageant - The Parade of Parades!

Christmas time is for families... but especially for children. That's not to say that it's not important for a whole lot of reasons (obviously, if you're Christian, it's a lot more than a time to give presents). Still, for children, it's a time to just be... well.. children. Now - why am I talking about Christmas. It's only just turned mid-November... well, last weekend we had the Adelaide (Credit Union) Christmas Pageant. So that's why.

What's the Christmas Pageant I hear you ask? Well, it's an old Adelaide tradition that's been around since 1933. Back then it was the grand event organised by a local department store, John Martins... but with the demise of that store, it's seen a number of sponsors with finally the Credit Unions coming to the fore.

This was going to be L-kun's first Pageant... and whilst he had been looking forward to it, he was a little unsure of what to expect.

I have to admit something... it was my first Christmas Pageant too. Even though I've live in or around Adelaide for most of my life, I guess I'd just never been in the right place at the right time (i.e. in the middle of Adelaide come mid November each year). This was going to be an adventure for me as well. As it was to the nearly half a million other people did (335,000 lining the streets, and another 150,000 watching on TV).
From the official website.

The pageant starts at 9:30 am, and whilst we knew that people come in to get the best seat positions from before 6am, we didn't leave home till about 8:30. Amazingly we were able to find a park (off Hutt St) and also managed to find a half decent spot to watch the parade on Wakefield St. The Pageant starts off at South Terrace, and meanders it's way along 3.5 km of city streets before ending up in front of David Jones Department Store. The Magic Cave.

Finally 9:30 arrives, and before long the Pageant starts to make it's way past our position.

The Pageant is a combination of floats, figures, bands, and of course clowns. I'm not sure what the clowns have to do with anything, but I guess it reinforces the inclusiveness of the Pageant - it's not really about any specific religious meaning.... unless you count Father Christmas as being religious that is. But it is fun.

And that's coming from someone that never really got into the whole clown thing either. But in the Christmas context, who could not love a clown... even the giant Pogo below...

The one thing that's amazing about the Pageant is that the participants are by-and-large employees (and employers) at the various Credit Unions. They take the responsibility of being in the Pageant seriously - seriously fun that is.

And there's a few well known characters that make an appearance as well... hey, Puss'n'Boots.

And not to mention the pirates (clearly they've heard that Santa's stash is hidden somewhere nearby)...

And no - this isn't a tribute to Monsters Inc, but rather Bruto the adorable (child-stealing) monster who has a heart of gold, and a belly full of... well... I'm sure he'll give back those children sooner or later.

I'd be guessing this was Puff the Magic Dragon... although I've no idea how magical that stuff was that he was exhaling. He did look like he was having a merry old time however.

What a great idea - the Naughty-Or-Nice-O-Meter. This was one of the new floats this year that had actually been designed by one of the local primary schools.

Though not all of those clowns were falling on the "Nice" side of the ledger....

As mentioned before - the role of the Pageant is to be as inclusive as possible, so there's a number of multi-cultural floats. Even one celebrating - as far as I can tell - Bollywood (the Hollywood of India in small scale). 

If you hadn't already picked it - one of the real stars of the whole day isn't actually on the street at all... but rather lining the streets. Adelaide at this time of the year has wonderful displays of Jacaranda trees, with their fantastic purple blooms. My favourites. And of course, there's also some Australiana there as well.

And Funi and Wang-Wang (our rather expensive friends at the Adelaide Zoo... or is that the Westpac Zoo?) were there as well... with some support form a very local lifeguard.

Just to show that it wasn't all about the colour and pageantry ... here's some B&W shots.

Even vampires celebrate Christmas... apparently.

Ah - back to safe ground... the clowns again!

Though some appeared to be taking their job almost too casually. Did you want a pillow with that?... 

actually, as I mentioned, these guys are mostly volunteers from the Credit Unions (along with some external performers). They really are stars of the show...

But there's no escaping it. It is Christmas, and for many children that means one of two things. Christmas Presents... and Father Christmas. Well - here comes the presents...

And perhaps the subtext for all of this is that Christmas is a time to give love...

And it is a time to celebrate childhood and it's innocence...

... and purity...

And to tell children that whilst the world might not be such a safe place, or that that times are tough financially, or that bad things happen even to good people... just for one period of the year, children can forget all of that "adult" stuff, and just have a laugh and enjoy the moment.

It's an important thing you learn as a parent. Sometimes you just need to let the magic free.

And who better to do that, than that ancient bearded fellow in the red pyjamas. Santa Claus aka Father Christmas. He finishes off the pageant every year, before taking up residence in the Magic Cave. Conveniently next to the toy shop... Still - as adults we can laugh about the commercialism of the season. But we didn't always do that.

We used to just like our son... looking up to this mysterious adult, knowing that he was something special and he had the power to make it everything better. Now L-kun had been to a couple of local Christmas Pageants, and hadn't really shown much of an interest in them. It could be that at four years of age this year, he was able to appreciate it more. Or it could be that he felt the magic of the day.

All I know is that he loved the whole thing.

Thanks Santa. Thanks sponsors: The Credit Unions... and especially thanks to all of the people that volunteered there time, and talent, to make a truly enjoyable day. We'll definitely be back again next year Santa!

Now - I've missed a lot of photos from the Pageant... but that gives me something to post about in 12 months time. Hope you'll join me again then... and even though it's early. Have a Merry November Christmas!


  1. Reminds me a little of the Myer Christmas Parade that was on this weekend in Melbourne. A great event for the whole family.

    Japan Australia

  2. Yeah - I was curious to see if there were other similar events around Australia... I wouldn't mind checking out the Myer one in Melbourne (sounds like a bit of rivalry between the two big department store chains).